Wednesday, September 15, 2004
For those of you who envy the Canadian healthcare system...: think again. Reuters reports that it takes a long time to get treatment in Canada.
Canada often boasts its universal health care program shows it is more caring than the United States, but the system is creaking alarmingly, with long wait lists for treatment, and shortages of cash and doctors.
As the politicians bicker, Canadians spend more time waiting in line. A study by the right-wing Fraser Institute this month said that average waiting time for treatment in 2003 rose to 17.7 weeks from 16.5 weeks in 2002.
"This grim portrait is the legacy of a medical system offering low expectations cloaked in lofty rhetoric," the study said, criticizing the fact that governments and not doctors are responsible for allocating resources.
Some delays are much longer. Patients in Ontario who require major knee surgery can wait six months to see a specialist and then another 18 months for surgery.
"When I started work 30 years ago it took three weeks to get a patient into a specialist's office. Now it can take six months. There is a lot of inhumanity built into the system," one unhappy family doctor told Reuters.
Got a busted knee? You'll be limping for two years before you get treatment in Canada.